About Cameron Hayes
Cameron Hayes is a guitar educator at the London Guitar Institute, teaching a wide range of styles such as rock, metal, blues, jazz, folk, RnB, acoustic, and many more! He teaches a large volume of students on a weekly basis and always looks to provide outstanding value in each and every lesson!
Stefan Joubert: What is the most difficult solo you have ever played so far and why?
Cameron Hayes: One that immediately springs to mind is Drew Zingg’s guitar solo in his tune “One-Off”. The immediate challenge with this solo is the incredibly fast tempo, being built off of 16th notes at 152BPM. It is a great solo to see how to mix your typical rock/blues pentatonic vocab in with melodic minor type lines, and also how to outline chord changes over a few different sections. From memory it did take me a while to learn and that’s also learning it very slowly! Something like this is definitely a slow burn – you have to gradually learn little bits at a time over weeks or even months until you can confidently put all of the pieces together.
Stefan Joubert: Which song have you enjoyed playing most so far and why?
Cameron Hayes: A very important song to me in my musical journey is the instrumental guitar piece by John Butler titled “Ocean”. I first discovered this song when I was about 13 or 14, and immediately started learning it by ear since I became obsessed. This was also my first real experience with open tuning, which really opened up the guitar for me and exposed lots of new sounds. This also opened up many more creative doors for me and also career opportunities. Having played “Ocean” non-stop for about a year, I saved up all of my money to buy a Maton acoustic guitar just like Butler plays, and began composing my own instrumental pieces in a similar style to “Ocean”. I was also inspired by Butler’s story of how he got started in music by busking at the Fremantle Markets (Perth, Western Australia), which was only about 45 minutes from where I grew up. After composing a series of my own pieces, and also with my rendition of “Ocean” in my setlist, I then took to the Fremantle Markets to start busking, which is the moment I first realised that this whole playing guitar thing could be my job. From there I started playing in local pubs and cafes (at the age of 15), and the rest is history. So in a way, I owe a lot to “Ocean” by John Butler.
Stefan Joubert: What would you tell a student who is thinking of giving up?
Cameron Hayes: Try switching up your approach! Are you currently self taught? Take some lessons with a teacher! Are you only focusing on theory at the moment? Try learning some songs that you like. Are you trying to play rock songs on a nylon string acoustic guitar? Get yourself an electric guitar and watch yourself become inspired! Very often people learning an instrument will fall into what we call a ‘rut’, doing the same old stuff which is becoming repetitive and boring. By switching things up and learning new things with a fresh approach, you will be able to break out of this rut and enjoy playing again!
Stefan Joubert: What would be your advice to a student who claims not to have time to practise?
Cameron Hayes: Schedule in your practise! Literally write it in your calendar or diary if you have to. I will often do this when I have a busy schedule. I know that on Wednesday night for example I will be practising for X gig because that is the gig that is the closest approaching, then Thursday night I’ll have a quick play through it again and get started on the setlist for Y gig next week, then after I play X gig on Saturday night I know that I have family commitments on Sunday, so I’ll be sure to practise for Y gig again on Monday morning. If you put practise in the “I’ll get to it when I get to it” category you’ll most likely never get to it, since by doing this you aren’t putting as much importance or urgency on it!
Stefan Joubert: What do you think of the grade examinations?
Cameron Hayes : I think this can go very much in a good or bad direction depending on the type of student. Grades are great for students that work well from clearly laid out goals and who are given a strict timeframe for when these requirements are to be completed by. This could perhaps lean a bit more towards methodical or mathematical type thinkers who like to see things in black and white. I have seen many students struggle with taking grades, particularly when a parent of a younger school aged student encourages them in this direction, as this can put their instrument practise into the chore category, since they see these clearly laid out tasks as something not fun. I don’t usually push too hard on grades for a student who naturally takes to playing and practising, if they are already seeing results from doing this organically.